Living The Nomad Life!
Nomad: A member of a community without fixed habitation which regularly moves to and from the same areas.
Yep. That pretty much defines my husband and I right now. Another way to say it is that we are "currently in between homes." We sold our previous home of almost 23 years, and our new house won't be built and ready to move in until some time in October.
Thanks to our parents, some good friends, and a couple of hotels and a condo, we have a place to park our cars and lay our heads every night until the new house is ready. And while it's nice not having a house payment for a few months, being without a permanent place to live certainly has its challenges.
We're just over a week into our "nomad life" and we're definitely feeling a little more settled. We've also learned a few good lessons already. So if you find yourself in a similar situation, keep reading and I'll share my tips with you!
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HOW MUCH CAN I FIT IN MY CAR?
One of the biggest challenges of "nomad life" is figuring out what you need to have with you and where it's all going to go. We have two cars, and I can tell you that as we were pulling out of the driveway of our house in Pennsylvania for the last time, each car was loaded to full capacity with stuff.
Some of that stuff was things that we just didn't want to put in storage - some valuables and of course, my wine and Kevin's poster collection. But a lot of it was things we use daily and need for the next couple of months. I work from home, so it's important that I have a good workspace no matter where I am. That means dragging around my monitor and stand, printer, etc.
It was also a little tough to pack clothes, because we are going to be covering a multitude of temperatures and seasons. We're currently in summer, but we'll be going out to Washington State and the Gorge in September, where it gets chilly at night. Then we'll be heading to upstate New York mid to late September, where nobody can predict the weather, before heading down to South Carolina at the end of September, where it will still feel like summer.
Tip #1: While you definitely want to minimize what you bring with you, there are certain things that you should consider keeping with you. Think about important papers you might need access to - passports, insurance papers, vaccine cards, etc. If you have to skimp on something, have it be things that you can easily purchase if you need to, like extra toiletries.
PLAN OUT THOSE LOGISTICS!
While it may sound like living the life of a nomad is adventurous and full of spontaneity, you also have to plan. Before we left our house in Pennsylvania, I had mapped out where we were going to be and where we were going to staying each day.
It's also a good idea to have some sort of home base from time to time if you need to have packages delivered to you. I needed a new cell phone, so I waited to order it until I knew we would be stationed at my mother-in-law's house for a couple weeks, so it could be sent to me here.
You also need to consider where to have your mail sent. There are a number of "virtual" mailbox services out there. We are currently using iPostal1. It allows us to have an address where our mail is delivered. They then scan the outside of the envelope, and we can view it on their website or app. We can then tell them whether to hold the mail for us to have it picked up or delivered later, or have the mail tossed (they recycle it for free and shred it for a charge).
Tip #2: Most of the virtual mail services have physical locations where you can go and pick up your mail as well. If you are going to be in a certain area often, set up your mailbox there. And be sure to check to make sure the service allows you to pick up mail there. They may also let you ship larger packages as well, so be sure to check out what options they have available.
Tip #3: If you have the ability to stay with family or friends, do it! We are using this time to spend a few days with our parents and some good friends. But don't overextend your welcome. While it sounds great to have that "together time", everyone needs their own space.
FLEXIBILITY IS THE KEY!
Having no permanent address definitely feels strange and unnerving. And while I'm trying to look at this time as an adventure, I miss the comfort of my own bed and knowing exactly where all my things are. Right now, the majority of our worldly possessions are in storage somewhere in Pennsylvania!
I could have let my anxiety get the best of me during this process. Instead, I've decided to try and go with the flow as much as possible. I'm going to take full advantage of the fact that I don't have a house to clean or a yard to keep up. Hopefully I'll be able to spend my free time with friends and family, or just relaxing!
Tip #4: While you should see a decrease in monthly bills - no rent/house payment, cable, internet, utilities, etc. - keep in mind that some of your other costs might go up. While we are able to spend some time with friends and family, we are also finding ourselves in hotels and renting a condo for a month. We are also definitely eating out more than usual.
I hope my tips for living the "nomad life" helped, and maybe even encouraged you to go out for a little adventure on your own. See you on the road!
Have you lived the "nomad life"? Any tips that you'd like to share? Share them with us by commenting below or contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you!
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